Videogames can create a great deal of frustration when it comes to the player dying over and over again. The challenge of an insane difficulty level is probably what keeps us going as gamers. That’s why today we are going to be listing the Top 10 Hardest Video Games of All Time.
Most of these games have been played by you but only a handful of dedicated gamers among you have actually gone on to finish the games or reached 100% completion on them.
While some of the games might be OK to complete at the easiest difficulty, once you play on normal or above, it really becomes a challenge.
This list really takes a look back and even includes some arcade titles.
The first item on the list is probably one of the games that can be considered the father of cash grabs, because it was originally released back in 1987 for the coin-operated arcade machines. Konami wanted you to die a lot and lose all your lives, because it sent you digging in your pocket for yet another coin that will let you continue your game.
The game design was actually pretty good, as it is still considered a classic nowadays, but the difficult platforming and the extreme amount of bullets flying your way could become overwhelming for even the best of players.
Another classic that made its way to the NES back in 1990, is the bullet hell that is known by the name of Silver Surfer. The levels alternated between the side-scrolling and the overhead perspective as you had to give it your best to avoid basically everything that came at you. Oh … and I forgot to mention that you basically die from one hit.
Besides the annoying bullets of various shapes and sizes that are often difficult to spot, you had to worry about crashing into the sides of the levels or into any of the many obstacles they throw your way, including rubber ducks that kill you if you touch them.
Mega Man 9
Similar to Contra, this game also has excellent level design, but may become too frustrating for most players. It was released by Capcom in 2008 and it still kept that retro vibe to it. Although they weren’t aiming towards you dumping more coins into an arcade machine, they were definitely thinking about making the game hard so that people would be challenged.
You will definitely die a lot before learning the enemy bullet patterns and the moves you must make in order to pass the levels. Almost every level has a unique method of completion that will keep you on your toes.
This military simulation game from Bohemia Interactive doesn’t joke around. It places realism at its core and emphasizes that in real life you don’t have a health bar, you don’t have a counter for your ammo and you die if you get shot even by a single stray bullet.
Players will find it very difficult to not only manage their squad in a way that doesn’t get them killed but also to account for the realistic ballistics that makes bullets drop in altitude depending on their caliber, ricochet or penetrate certain materials. Patience is key with this game as running and gunning will only get you killed.
It wouldn’t be a top 10 hardest games without Dark Souls. Although it’s probably not the hardest one out there, this one was actually marketed for its difficulty, hard bosses, and the fact that you are going to die a lot.
There is no doubt that everything in this game wants to kill you, but when you learn from your past mistakes and manage to defeat the enemy your heart will be overcome with joy. In battles you will have to think tactically about the right time to strike and the right time to defend or dodge, as even the trash mobs can kill you with very few hits. Although Dark Souls is difficult and punishing, it is also fair.
Going back a few years, we have the spiritual predecessor to Dark Souls. Having a similar dark fantasy theme and also being received as a game that is fair, despite its insane difficulty which only enhanced the challenge that people would get out of it.
In comparison with Dark Souls, this game does not offer the same leniency when it comes to the option of skipping and area and coming back to it when you are ready. There aren’t that many paths to take here, only the straight ones that will most likely get you killed. One thing is for sure out of these two games: the one that you play first, is definitely the hardest.
Ninja Gaiden Black
This reworked version of the original Ninja Gaiden game, brings the difficulty back when it comes to its combat system. In this game the player fights the enemies on equal terms, making Ryu, the protagonist, as easy to kill as the enemies he fights and consequentially making the enemies strike as hard as the protagonist.
The only difference here is the player’s choice of weapon and foresight when it comes to memorizing enemy attack patterns. The only way you can beat this game is if you master its combat system and learn the patterns of the enemy, which may take a while.
The rival to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that came out in 1991 on the NES is definitely a weird one. It has become quite popular as being a very difficult game to beat as not only it is very high paced, but it constantly slams you with obstacles that you can’t possibly see coming.
The only way of passing such levels you have to literally memorize everything about the layout and execute your commands with precise timing. The levels are very diverse, ranging for classic beat-em-ups, to racing, and also platforming. If only kids could have memorized things for school like they memorized this game back in 1991…
Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts
Another game that was released later that same year is the side-scrolling platformer that is 3rd in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series. You play as King Arthur in your quest to rescue the princess. Along the way you are greeted with multiple enemies, each of them with various abilities and attack patterns.
You only need to get hit twice to lose one of your precious three lives that you have in total. And if you don’t think the enemies are tough enough, consider the fact that even the level itself is your enemy. It will be constantly changing and trying to mess you up. But you do have chests that will give you some cool loot, or kill you, because there are traps in them.
Now before we reveal our number 1 pick, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions:
Nethack, Metro 2033, Ghosts ‘N Goblins, Castlevania, N+
I wanna be the guy
“You think your game is difficult?!”, “Well let me just create something that will alter the dictionary’s definition of difficult!”. That must have been exactly what Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, the creator of this game thought back in 2007. And he created just that, a game that is so difficult, it is perceived as unfair by many players. It doesn’t respect any pre-established rules that previous platformers had set. Many things that you think will be safe will just fall on you and kill you.
At one point, even the Moon falls on you. This game does not follow any reason and if you want to have any chance of beating it, you have to not only memorize the levels, but also come up with a plan to safely dodge one hazard while avoiding countless others. It is a parody game that certainly toys with the concept of difficulty, but it is a game nonetheless, so that’s why it’s making the top of our list.